As I sat listening to the song “Hero” by Mariah Carey, the words kept resonating in my head – “There’s a Hero if you look inside your heart, you don’t have to be afraid of what you are. And then a Hero comes along with the strength to carry on, and you cast your fears aside.” I firmly believe in the ethos of the song and how it holds true for every scenario, be it personal or professional.
In today’s world, the pandemic has treated everyone in an “unbiased manner”, forcing every individual to re-evaluate, re-haul and re-engineer their lives. The result has been there for everyone to experience and witness. The world as we know it has transformed drastically with long and enduring economic and health consequences that have resulted in radical changes in human behaviors and perceptions. As a Thought Leader who has witnessed daunting business challenges across varied industries, my Mantra has been to evolve as an agile individual while working collaboratively and focusing on consistently “skilling, upskilling and re-skilling” self.
In these unique times if one wants to take these headwinds and the disruptive forces “head on”, I firmly recommend aligning their Mantra to evolve with “Individual Growth Drivers (IGD’s)” that will help them navigate the storm successfully and become their North Star. For me Empathy, Resilience and Trust (ERT) are the quintessential Individual Growth Drivers to which one can devote their time, energy and resources and make them their guiding principles.
- Empathy: A lot has been said and a lot will be said about empathy. In my view empathy is every individual’s courage to step outside one’s own emotions and view things from the perspective of another person. Remember, empathy is truly a quality of character and can transform the work environment as it boosts employee morale, builds enduring collaboration and is even known to reduce stress. One of the finest examples is the Empathy Lab run by Facebook, which provides Facebook engineers the chance to experience for themselves how customers will use their products – even if those customers are visually impaired or have hearing disability. It was designed to build empathy into engineering. “The lab helps employees and visitors experience how people with varied abilities, living in different parts of the world, facing unique life experiences might interact with Facebook.”
- Resilience: There have been times when my peers and team members have reached out to me when they have experienced a roadblock or difficulty. I always share this example which serves as a mind map for them, which I’m sure they will retain as a learning for the rest of their lives. I ask them to imagine they are on a raft with their friends or colleagues. They know that the water may be rough but they are not aware of the different degrees of roughness. What prepares them for such situations is their resilience to overcome the difficulty, making their achievements thereafter so much more enjoyable. It is only when we learn how to become resilient, that we truly embrace the beautiful broad spectrum of the human experience.
- Trust: I firmly believe that Trust is the basis of every interaction, conversation and relationship. More often than not Leaders in organizations focus only on performance and not on trust. During one of the webinars by Simon Sinek, he gave an interesting example of Navy Seals and how they select individuals to join the team. They look at the performance vs trust index, and plot them on the x and y axis. On the Y axis is Performance, or how you are on the battlefield, and on the X axis is Trust, or how you are off the battlefield (what kind of person are you). They would obviously select an individual who falls in the “High Performer and High Trust” category, but surprisingly, they prefer a medium performer who is high on trust to a high performer who is low on trust! Trust becomes the more important factor as they are often in life and death situations.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you have got to put up with the rain, but the individual growth drivers of empathy, resilience and trust can create the umbrella that shields you.